Fall 2021 SS Magazine

Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf earns 1st Pro Bowl nod as he glorifies God in breakout season

Fourteen games into his second season in the NFL, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf has firmly established himself as one of the best wideouts in the league. And the NFL confirmed that on Monday, when Metcalf was named to the Pro Bowl for the first time.

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Just one week removed from his 23rd birthday, Metcalf joined six other Seahawks on the NFC Pro Bowl squad, tying a franchise record. The seven selections for the Seahawks is also tied for the most in the league this year, along with Baltimore, Kansas City and Green Bay.

The 2021 Pro Bowl will not be played due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but a total of 88 players were still named to the AFC and NFC Pro Bowl teams, with rosters determined by votes from fans, players and coaches.

Upon learning of his honor, Metcalf gave glory to God.

Following a rookie season with 58 catches for 900 yards and seven touchdown, Metcalf has already topped those numbers through 14 games in 2020. He’s fourth in the NFL in receiving yards (1,223) and yards per reception (16.5), and his 10 touchdowns are tied for fifth. His 87.4 yards per game rank sixth.

That Metcalf is producing at such a level is a miracle (he even has the word tattooed on his back). In a recent ESPN Cover Story, Metcalf detailed how close he came to never playing football again after a neck injury in 2018, his redshirt sophomore season at Mississippi. Initially thought to have a stinger after a hit to his chin in a game, doctors discovered he had a broken neck.

“That’s when the doctor was like, ‘You may not be able to play again. Football should be the last thing on your mind, and you need to have surgery,'” Metcalf told ESPN. “He said if I had gotten hit any harder, the bone would’ve pierced my spinal cord and I would have been paralyzed.”

For two days Metcalf processed that news. He had dreamed of making it to the NFL, like his father, Terrance, who played seven years as an offensive lineman for the Chicago Bears. And DK had always been built for the sport.

“He was just a little baby with biceps all shaped up,” Terrence told ESPN. “He just showed crazy strength when he was a young kid.”

But then another neurosurgeon looked at Metcalf’s CT scan and determined he could return to football. If he completed months of rehab, DK would be at no greater risk, the doctor said.

“I found myself, my real calling in life, while I was sitting at home for a month and a half in a neck brace and in a recliner,” DK told ESPN. “I told myself, ‘Remember these days, because these days are going to make you who you are.’ It shaped me into the person I am today, just being at home, thinking about life, thinking about what I want to look like in five months or 10 years down the road.”

Doctors approved him to begin training again after three months of rehab, and Metcalf declared for the 2019 NFL Draft. It was a risky move, coming off a serious neck injury and only 67 catches for 1,228 yards and 14 touchdowns in college. Most elite prospects turn in stats like that in one season.

But his performance at the NFL Combine improved his stock: 4.33 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 27 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press, and 40.5 inches in the vertical jump. Seattle took him with the last pick of the second round (64th overall).

“God gave me another opportunity to play,” he said in a video prior to the draft, “so I’m just going to live it up to the fullest.”

Metcalf is doing just that, and he’s praising God along the way. He says “God is working” on his social media bios, and often glorifies God in his posts.

As Metcalf has risen in his journey to the NFL, he’s seen football as a chance to share the Gospel.

“I look at football as a platform to help other people or to spread the Word of God,” he told the Daily Mississippian. “I know many people don’t want to just sit in church and just listen or to go to church. Me looking at it as ‘How’d you get here, what’d you do?’ I put my faith in God, my trust in God and that He’s blessed me each and every day to play the game of football. Me spreading the Gospel through football is how I look at it.”

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